A sheep farmer who has been prominent in the fight to promote local lamb has spoken of her frustration with supermarket giants.

Rachel Lumley, creator of the @LoveBritishLamb Twitter account, praised this year’s Love Lamb promotion to get the public to appreciate the versatility of the meat, but said recognition by the major supermarkets was sadly lacking.

“For whatever reason, it has definitely not been due to lack of awareness of LoveLambWeek, as they were informed in good time through the correct channels,” said Rachel, whose family farm at Hethersgill and Blanchland in Northumberland.

“It has taken a huge amount of personal effort to try and buck the trend of protesting awareness and launch a positive campaign, and the lack of support is a bit like a kick in the teeth, especially when so many farmers, small businesses, local butchers and even international chefs and restaurant chains have made such an effort,” she added.

Both Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) Beef and Lamb and the National Sheep Association have swung behind the campaign since it was launched by Rachel in 2015, promoting it at a national level and organising a plethora of related events.

“It’s been fantastic to see so much involvement, support and awareness.

“There have been a lot more organisations involved and this has been fundamental, and I really do hope to be able to hand over fully for future years, as it is these organisations that should be driving such initiatives,” said Rachel.

But she did add that it has become more obvious since being involved with the marketing campaign that the flavour and eating quality of hill lamb at this time of year is not being promoted to anywhere near its full potential.

“Although, like many farmers, our main flock is gearing more towards a meatier lamb, there is really nothing better than heather-fed Swaledale lamb – but very few people ever get the chance to experience it,” she said.

“Currently much Cumbrian hill lamb loses it’s unique selling point once sold store and finished on lowland pastures, but there really is a lot of opportunity for lighter, quality carcasses.

“Although called spring lamb, British lamb was only being born in the springtime, and therefore at its best eating quality now in late summer/early autumn, and the best way to enjoy the grass-fed quality all year round is by putting a whole or half lamb in your freezer from your local butcher.

“We want to promote the fact that September is the prime season for lamb and I don’t think a lot of people know that,” said Rachel.

“Everything has been weaned – the lambs have all come off their mothers and have been fed on grass at its best.

“It’s now that people should be going to butchers and ordering a whole lamb to put in their freezers.”

Rachel is delighted at how the campaign has taken off nationally since she launched it last year.

“I can’t quite believe it really,” she said. “But it’s great.

“We’re not expecting to set the world on fire, we are realistic, but it would be nice to start to build on the campaign year on year so that lamb has a much higher profile.”

AHDB Beef & Lamb described the week as a great opportunity for farmers and butchers everywhere to get involved, not only by encouraging consumers to understand how versatile, tasty and easy it is to cook with lamb, but also by providing an insight into how the industry works.